• thewonder
    736
    Well, I think "strategic machination" is employed by the Left as much as by the Right. Marx did borrow a lot from his rivals while at the same time criticizing and attacking them for allegedly being "ignorant" or "insane". Lenin borrowed his "state capitalism" from capitalists like Taylor and Ford, etc.Apollodorus

    The Left is guilty of kind of a lot of strategic machinations, but I don't think that appropriating relatively obscure right-wing philosophy is one of them. Perhaps, among some Nihilists?

    Marx was a gifted polemicists, and, so, everyone ought to take some of his words with a grain of salt. His ideas often changed, but he did hold fast to them at any given point in time.
  • Apollodorus
    531
    Yeah the Lord of the Rings and Capital are pretty interchangeableMaw

    Not a bad comparison. But I was thinking more of science fiction. More like Jules Verne or H G Wells. With an economic twist.
  • Apollodorus
    531
    Marx was a gifted polemicists, and, so, everyone ought to take some of his words with a grain of salt. His ideas often changed, but he did hold fast to them at any given point in time.thewonder

    Well, I have no doubt that he was a gifted polemicist. He learned all the tricks of the trade as a journalist and his father was a lawyer.

    However, he couldn't have been that good since very few people took him seriously. His Communist Manifesto was a flop and hardly anyone read Capital. And he had to close down the International because it was being taken over by Anarchists.

    Plus, Bakunin and others who knew him well thought that he was a charlatan. After all, he did live off other people's money for many years, so we can't rule out the possibility.
  • Maw
    2.4k
    Not a bad comparison. But I was thinking more of science fiction. More like Jules Verne or H G Wells. With an economic twistApollodorus

    Fuck that's absolutely :100:
  • thewonder
    736

    Marx was a gifted theorist and even though I disagree with him, particularly finding fault with The German Ideology, which you have cited, which does serve as evidence of that he did have kind of a habit of deploying incendiary sophistry to a point of excess, as it includes a polemical onslaught against "Saint Max", i.e. Max Stirner, that is longer than Max Stirner's seminal work, The Ego and Its Own, I am willing to admit that.

    Your assumption that Communism has never been popular because Communists have never been voted into office, I think, is only so much to the point. The Communist Manifesto had a clear and decisive influence over the general course of human history and it is not as if the Bolshevik faction of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party were the only people to have ever been influenced by it.

    He did not shut down the International Workingman's Association that was formerly headed by a man whom I am loathe to defend, as he was a virulent anti-Semite; he levelled a series of political attacks against one, Mikhail Bakunin, and took it over.

    When it comes to the various historical reenactments that comprise of the series of debates between the early Communists, Socialists, and Anarchists, I, myself, side with the former prince of the Rurik Dynasty, Peter Kropotkin.
  • Apollodorus
    531
    Marx was a gifted theorist and even though I disagree with him, particularly finding fault with The German Ideology, which you have cited, which does serve as evidence of that he did have kind of a habit of deploying incendiary sophistry to a point of excess,thewonder

    Correct. Scholars like Kolakowski have long pointed out that Marx was using ambiguous and suggestive language. Obviously, this was done on purpose as Marx had studied law and philosophy and knew the difference between precise and imprecise language all too well.

    To be honest, I've never felt particularly attracted to Anarchism but I must say that I have far more respect for Anarchists like Bakunin than for Marx who was a rather slippery character whose main interest was to be always right even when he obviously wasn't and all he wanted was to dominate and bully which is why he had very few friends.

    He was also clearly afraid of Bakunin who was quite an influential personality in his own right and much of Marx's polemics was intended to confuse the Anarchists and impose his own version of socialism without much success however which is why in the end he had to close down the London International and sent it packing to New York out of the reach of the likes of Bakunin.

    The Communist Manifesto became more influential in the 1900s but it had zero impact on the 1848-49 revolution as admitted by Engels in his Introduction. It was printed in London but the French version came out too late to influence the movement in France and the German-language copies were seized by the police at the border so very few people got a chance to ever see it even if they had wanted to. Marx's Communist League had a few hundred members, was split into rival factions and was shut down soon after. That's why he gave up and retired to London to do research for his Capital in the reading room at the British Museum. That's the facts, the rest is mythology spun out by Engels and other socialist propagandists.
  • Tom Storm
    967
    Amongst people who identify as Left, I would maintain (but only based on my experience) that there are few who would know Karl Marx from Groucho Marx. Well, that's probably too strong, but you get my point. Theory has not often been the strong point of practicing 'socialists'. It's more of a 'vibe thing', a generic, 'let's redistribute wealth and get rid of oligarchs'. In my conversations with student Leftists and community activists I have met over 30 years, only one or two has ever read more than a few pages of Marx. The strength of Marxism is as a brand and like most brands it's all perception, not theory. The university types may quote some Frankfurt School stuff, or mention Marx more often and with some superficial insight but I doubt many have a robust understanding of Marxism or the history of revolutions. In my experience Marxism is just a word some people use to describe some forms of Left wing activism with a revolutionary flavor.
  • Apollodorus
    531
    In my conversations with student Leftists and community activists I have met over 30 years, only one or two has ever read more than a few pages of Marx.Tom Storm

    That has been exactly my experience, though obviously not for that length of time. Very few have actually read Marx and even fewer have objectively analyzed Marxist concepts and theories. I've found that this applies even more to Fabianism. 99% of university students don't have a clue and even professors are surprised when I mention Fabians and their influence on the Left. But after checking the sources they all end up thanking me for bringing it to their attention.

    In general, 'let's redistribute wealth and get rid of oligarchs' is what leftism boils down to. It is an emotion-based knee-jerk reaction just as in the case of race, gender or environmental issues and that's where psychological manipulation by various self-interested activist groups tends to come into it. And it has also become a profitable business as the more vocal and persistent you are in such causes the more you get the attention of corporate donors keen on publicizing their progressive credentials.
  • praxis
    3.5k
    In general, 'let's redistribute wealth and empower oligarchs' is what rightism boils down to. It is an emotion-based knee-jerk reaction just as in the case of race, gender or environmental issues and that's where psychological manipulation by various self-interested individuals and groups tends to come into it. And it has also become a profitable business as the more vocal and persistent you are in such causes the more you get the attention of consumers and corporate donors keen on politicizing these issues.
  • James Riley
    765


    :100: :cheer:

    The biggest, richest, most powerful industry in the world will point at the opposition science and say "You can't trust their science! It's all about the money! Their scientists are bought with a money agenda!"

    They should take a fucking seat. Jeesh.
  • Echarmion
    2k
    In general, 'let's redistribute wealth and get rid of oligarchs' is what leftism boils down to. It is an emotion-based knee-jerk reactionApollodorus

    Just because it's intuitive to many doesn't mean it's wrong. From a democratic perspective, there is majority support for wealth distribution almost everywhere. And if you don't want to listen to the rabble, there are plenty economists who agree. Almost noone would argue that the cleptocratic post-soviet russian oligarchy for example represents superior economic policy to swedish social democracy.
  • Apollodorus
    531
    From a democratic perspective, there is majority support for wealth distribution almost everywhere. And if you don't want to listen to the rabble, there are plenty economists who agree. Almost noone would argue that the cleptocratic post-soviet russian oligarchy for example represents superior economic policy to swedish social democracy.Echarmion

    Wealth distribution maybe, but certainly not abolition of private property.

    Both the Russian cleptocrats and the Swedish technocrats operate in close collaboration with business interests. The Swedish living standards may be higher than the Russian ones but in terms of democracy both systems are very similar.
  • Echarmion
    2k
    Wealth distribution maybe, but certainly not abolition of private property.Apollodorus

    Why are you bringing up the abolition of private property? I was responding to your claim that "wealth redistribution is an emotion-based knee-jerk reaction". You didn't say "wanting to abolish private property is an emotion-based knee-jerk reaction".

    Both the Russian cleptocrats and the Swedish technocrats operate in close collaboration with business interests. The Swedish living standards may be higher than the Russian ones but in terms of democracy both systems are very similar.Apollodorus

    That's a weasely statement. You can always make up your own definitions in order to justify calling two "systems" "very similar" "in terms of democracy".

    But anyways I was talking about economic policy. Clearly the policies in terms of wealth redistribution are very different. Russia has a proportional (!) income tax of 13%.
  • thewonder
    736
    The Swedish living standards may be higher than the Russian ones but in terms of democracy both systems are very similar.Apollodorus

    How can you possibly make this claim?

    Sweeden is listed as the world's seventh most happy country on The World Happiness Report, behind a number of other Nordic countries, I might add, and the Russian Federation is now the defining example of a defunct democracy corrupted by both their mob and former apparat. It's like Italy with Marxist-Leninists.
  • Apollodorus
    531
    Sweeden is listed as the world's seventh most happy country on The World Happiness Report, behind a number of other Nordic countries,thewonder

    However, I wasn't talking about "happiness". I was talking about democracy.
  • thewonder
    736

    My encounters with Marxists, which have, granted, been mostly online, has actually been quite different. In the way back when RevLeft was still operative, nearly every conversation seemed to require a rather lengthy set of deliberations and references from marxists.org . I remember getting into a conversation with a Hoxhasit, I think, Marxist-Leninist, and Soviet apologist about Leon Trotsky's alleged Fascist collaboration. I had pointed out that, by that Trotsky had written "Fascism: What Is It and How to Fight It" and, to my albeit limited knowledge of the details of his life, he had never collaborated with the Nazi Party, it seemed unlikely for this to be the case. This poster then, in, perhaps, a near traumatic revelation that I had regarding the power of ideology, proffered "proof" of his collaboration, being this document from what has come to be called "The Moscow Show Trials".
  • god must be atheist
    2.9k
    How can you possibly make this claim?thewonder

    The claim may be valid despite the great difference in average happiness. That's because living standards are not measured by happiness. They are measured by height and how fast they can run. (A "standard" in English also means a lamp-pole or telephone pole. A long pole sticking out of the ground.)
  • god must be atheist
    2.9k
    The Swedish living standards may be higher than the Russian onesApollodorus

    Do you have proof? Have you measured Telephone Poles in both Russia and Sweden?

    (C.f.: Who was the world's first telephone Pole? Answer: Alexander Graham Bellski.)

    I know I am going waaaay wide off on a tangent. Maybe someone should ask the mods to delete my posts in this thread. I could, but I ran out of energy, thinking up my jokes.
  • thewonder
    736

    I assume for the World Happiness Report to be fairly reflective of a person's general livelihood and of their relative freedom and meaningful participation within a democratic process. Though you are correct that my assessment is not statistically accurate, I think that this is a safe assumption to make.
  • Apollodorus
    531
    I know I am going waaaay wide off on a tangent. Maybe someone should ask the mods to delete my posts in this thread. I could, but I ran out of energy, thinking up my jokes.god must be atheist

    No worries, we understand.
  • god must be atheist
    2.9k
    I assume for the World Happiness Report to be fairly reflective of a person's general livelihood and of their relative freedom and meaningful participation within a democratic process.thewonder

    Okay, I call myself a philosopher, so I have a response.

    Meaningful participation in the democratic process... the target task is done by elected representatives. So the laws we need to abide have been made by a very few, who may think entirely differently from their elector base. In Russia the same way as in Sweden and in the USA.

    General livelihood... is not a cause of happiness, beyond a certain level. If you are seeing your children perish due to malnutrition and lack of medical aid, because you can't afford food and medicine for them while others around you can, yes, earning power is a source of happiness, by staving off unhappiness. But whether you JUST bought a Jaguar car or a Bentley, or you JUST bought a Zhiguli, you are equally happy, as long as in your social circles everyone drives the same car that you just bought.

    Relative freedom... the biggest hoax the West has fed to its free people. They believe they are freer than a Russian dude, and this goes back to communist times, is that the Westerns believe the lies in their news while the Esterns knew they were lies.

    I think the freedom is an important factor between the West (including Russia) and highly religious countries (Vatikan, Iran, UAE, SA,...) and it absolutely does not guarantee happiness. A lot, and I mean a lot, of people are happy with freer speech and thought, but a lot of other people (and i won't put a number or proportion on either of these two camps) are extremely happy in stability, in social stability, in their status, in their routine, in what they got.

    Some psychologist described happiness as a reaction to returns on investment much higher than expected. This means not only the stock market. If you get an A in physics, whereas you expected a C-; if your English composition in school gets to be read up to the entire class; if your doctor says your wife's condition turned and she has many more years to live, these are things that give you extreme joy. IN the rest of the time, what makes you tick is that you know precisely what you get for doing what; and that requires social stability, and that's precisely less free regimes provide.
  • Tom Storm
    967
    In the way back when RevLeft was still operative, nearly every conversation seemed to require a rather lengthy set of deliberations and references from marxists.org . I remember getting into a conversation with a Hoxhasit, I think, Marxist-Leninist, and Soviet apologist about Leon Trotsky's alleged Fascist collaboration.thewonder

    That is interesting. I think when theory and history get combined in this way discussions become labyrinthine and speculative and too much of a pissing competition for those involved. It's just about point scoring and skewing history, this was or that. I generally avoid politics on line as it usually breaks down into internecine tribalism with a slender evidence base. Boring.
  • thewonder
    736

    While an excellent assessment of what is off about the social ecology of the Anarchist movement, I don't think that you have considered well enough as to what I mean about Marxist-Leninist ideology. Your average sociological study in Titoism, Hoxhaism, Brezhnevism, Inkpinism that you'd find on RevLeft, the various tendencies to support this or that relatively obscure vaguely Marxist-Leninist personage, was not at all uninformed of Marxist orthodoxy. They did read Marx and could, perhaps, recite lengthy passages from certain texts from memory. Contrary to what you experience with you average activist lacking in political philosophic rigor, they had an extraordinary knowledge, if you will, or their respective political theories. It was kind of through this appeal to an odd sort of bureaucratic authority that I suspect for Marxism-Leninism to have been able to have been maintained as what was, particularly under Josef Stalin, a totalitarian ideology. People in the Soviet Union were not uniformed; they were merely misinformed. The Soviet Union actually had one of the highest literacy rates in the world, which has carried over into the Russian Federation today. It's not that people were lacking in knowledge; it's that they were indoctrinated within this or that ideological tendency.
  • Tom Storm
    967
    don't think that you have considered well enough as to what I mean about Marxist-Leninist ideology.thewonder

    That may well be true. I have no doubt that there are and were people who explore Marxist ideology with the fanatical determination of a scholastic theologian and can creatively connect it to a range of situations. I have known a number of defectors/refugees from Soviet countries and discussed this kind of thing with them at length.
  • thewonder
    736
    That may well be true. I have no doubt that there are and were people who explore Marxist ideology with the fanatical determination of a scholastic theologian and can creatively connect it to a range of situations.Tom Storm

    That's a good way of putting it, I think. Among radicals, I think that people do often get swept up within political slogans or incendiary phrases with little to no understanding of their theoretical basis. Among the true believers in any ideological tendency, though, it is an excess of theory, often through the invocation of ideological purity, which I, myself, have even been guilty of in the past, that is what gives rise to the various collective delusions that I generally term "cult pathology".
  • thewonder
    736


    Bangarang!

    Let the record show that Sweeden is a great country and that, should, at the level of a totality, there not occur a global nonviolent revolution and establishment of a loosely affiliated set of freely associated Anarchist communes, only an unrepentant, unabashed, and unreserved faith in the Nordic Model can liberate the so-called "masses" from the yoke of the partisan deadlock generated by the ascendency of Neo-Liberalism.
  • god must be atheist
    2.9k
    the Nordic Model can liberate the so-called "masses" from the yoke of the partisan deadlockthewonder

    Provided that the model they send from the North to liberate the masses is leggy, has platinum blonde hair and is tall and sporty-slim.
  • thewonder
    736

    There's something to be said for High Fantasy, y'know?

    Okay, so, the Nordic countries have always had certain things going for them, namely that they're fairly wealthy, which offers them a certain advantage when it comes to things like their ranking within the World Happiness Report.

    Being said, by that whatever international bodies there are that put forth such reports consistently report them at the top, I do think that it is safe to assume that their general governance has been overall effective. What effects a person's quality of life more than the socio-political and cultural climate that they live in? There are plenty of countries with considerable wealth in the world, but only those who have adopted the Nordic Model rank at the top of these charts time and time again.
  • god must be atheist
    2.9k

    Okay, I get you. I only have one question: what is the phenomenon you call the Nordic Model? There must be some attributes that you can use to describe for us (me) what being the Nordic Model entails.

    What exactly are the attributes of the Nordic Model? Believe me, I haven't heard it before, so I am ignorant. I may want to Google it, too, but not right now. If you would please care to describe it.

    I say I am skeptical, because Hungary is the central-Europe model, and it has the highest suicide rate in the world, competing with Finland, which is also on the shores of the Baltic. Although their historical roots may have been joined with those of Hungary, the two nations are different by blood lines by now, due to the intermarriages with neighbouring countries: Finland with the Norsemen, Hungarians with the Germans, Slavs, and Roman remnants (which makes up the population of Rumania).

    Canada, I don't know how well the population scores on the happiness scale, but by some other metrics, in annual surveys of "The Best Country to Live In" Canada ranks consistently 1st or 2nd.
  • thewonder
    736

    The Nordic Model is a syncretic form of Social Democracy and laissez-faire Liberalism. You effectively have things like free universal healthcare and free access to higher education, a generally socially liberal society, along with a rather highly specified form of an only so regulated market. It is claimed that it is falling out of favor in the Nordic countries, which I don't necessarily believe. I don't think that the situation there is too comparable to Hungary, though.

    I live in the United States and, among certain right-wing intellectual circles, there seems to be kind of a tendency to be overly-critical of the Nordic countries, which is something that I've never understood. I just figure that it's sort of like the general attitude towards the French intelligensia that exists here, but one that, in this case, doesn't even pass as somehow warranted.

    I know that a lot of people moved to Canada in order to dodge the draft in the 1960s. Now that there isn't quite conscription in the United States like there was, while I'm sure that it's probably a nice place to live, I don't see too much of a reason to move to Canada anymore. I've always been kind of fascinated by Quebec, though.
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